ST. LOUIS ( -- Saying it would require only a "room temperature I.Q." to understand why he was in possession of Patricia McCloskey's handgun, attorney Al Watkins lashed back at a prosecutor who called him a "slimeball" in leaked messages.

News 4 reported Monday that Chris Hinckley, Chief Warrant Officer in the Circuit Attorney's Office, voiced frustration that Watkins had retained possession of the handgun. In a series of emails and a voicemail to the lead police detective on the case, Hinckley said "why the F does Watkins have the handgun?" and writing about Watkins "that guy is a slime ball, by many accounts."

Read: McCloskey Case | Rare look at prosecutor's emails reveal improper urgency to charge, attorney says

Gun handed over

Attorney Al Watkins handing the gun to police Saturday afternoon.

The messages were part of correspondence between Hinckley and Detective Curtis Burgdorf. The rifle seen in the hands of Mark McCloskey was seized in a police search warrant. In the days after the incident, however, the handgun held by Patricia McCloskey was in Watkins’ possession. Watkins turned the gun over to police with News 4’s cameras rolling.

Watkins represents in a McCloskeys personal capacity, but they are represented by attorney Joel Schwartz for their criminal defense.

On Tuesday morning, Watkins penned a letter to Hinckley, saying "I write in unsolicited response to the question you propounded in an e-mail to Detective Burgdorf during the early days of the McCloskey era. You are widely quoted as having inquired of Detective Burgdorf, "why the [expletive] does Watkins have the handgun...."

"I am struggling with your inquiry, not because it is difficult to answer, but rather, because its answer required nothing more than a room temperature I.Q. to garner. Without further belaboring the obvious, I was doing my job. I think it was Judge Judy who said something like, ' fades, stupid is forever.'"

You can read the full letter here, where Wakins seems to wear "slimeball" as a badge of honor, writing, “I respectfully suggest Slimeball Lives Matter.” He writes further: “Slimeballs may be despicable, but they are thick skinned and, interestingly, in high demand when the going gets rough.”

Watkins represented the McCloskeys immediately following the incident and gained national attention when he went on CNN with Mark McCloskey.

Kim Gardner, in a statement to News 4, wrote, "Due to ethical limitations, we cannot comment on pending cases. However, it’s unfortunate that internal communications between the investigative agency and the Circuit Attorney’s Office was shared with the media."

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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